I live in Orange County, but we southerners often find ourselves crossing the Orange Curtain for a good night of food and entertainment in the big city, but we know LA people look down us, we can see it in their eyes.
It's like we’re just not cool enough, we’re not quite at the leading edge of culture like they are, they’re like…'that was so last week'. Granted we are known for pleasantville neighborhoods with identical homes and way too much money(I'm looking at you Irvine)…but we’re not all that way, I swear it. I sort of get the obsession though, I think people in LA like the seedy characteristics of the city, they like living in a place that’s part terrifying, part totally awesome. The grunge adds to the thrill, the intrigue of irony, as they pop from one hip restaurant to another.
But there we were with fabulous friends, starting at a wine bar with shelves of wine from floor to ceiling and a mescal tasting in a back room. Smoky Tequila is gross, except that I loved it. It might ruin a margarita but when sipped alone, the subtle details become extravagant. Then on a busy street in Beverly Hills we opted for valet the price of a bottle of wine to avoid the dreaded wondering around the street affair, afraid to hit the Maserati directly in front or the homeless guys directly behind while parallel parking. The crowd outside the Mexican restaurant was huge, which we later came to find out was a night of prayer, music and gratitude for mother earth, complete with a rainbow display of votive candles to light in a vigil to the gods that be and a performance by Peter, Paul & Mary. Inside the restaurant the beautiful servers who undoubtedly doubled as working actors whirred about the room expertly weaving in between tables, trays full of cocktails and red wine. While we ate I engaged my skills of peripheral people staring – no watching- and I wanted desperately to be a hippie. Women were wandering barefoot with braids down their backs, one with a rainbow knit smock that could only have been handmade. Babies were strapped to backs, which brought along friendly conversation and congratulations “you have a baby…in a bar”. Then there were the modern day hipster hippies, who weren’t quite sold enough. They did a bad performance of hippie reenactment while they flirted at the bar with chiseled cheekbones and a hat I’m sure I had seen at Urban Outfitters last week.
We left and ran across town and parked in such a precarious area I would have bet my cats that our car would get stolen. Unknown streets can be very exaggerated at night, like a scene from some rapist movie that I can’t quite remember but has lodged itself somewhere in the back of my mind to torture me with its fear. Pass the graffiti, pass the overflowing trashcan, pass a man sleeping in a tent, pass a man in a tailored suit - wait, no that’s us. He leads us upstairs and through a closet (insert Angelinos eye roll) and into a Rum bar with a live Cuban band and a dance floor full of beautiful people and perfectly timed hips and feet. If I’m not careful in a place like this, I might let the mojito tell me I can probably dance like that…I cannot dance like that, NEVER let me try!
It was a evening of experiences stringed along like beads that made the night like something out of Latin America with a side of 70's, and I was in love with it. I was grateful for a city close by that may not have it’s own distinct culture, but in a country of immigrants our culture is international and it is definitely alive. Who wants one thing, when you can have pieces of it all. So LA I’ll give you an A+ for the night, don’t make me fall for you!